That Good Ol’ Palomino Mare!
By Angela Taylor-Godac
In the early 1950’s, my parents lived in Payson near where Julia Randall Elementary School is now. My dad always had horses and at the time, he had a nice buckskin mare named Sandy Macaw. Sandy was amazingly fast and in competitions and contests that would be had for fun in Payson, they started having to handicap her with extra seconds in the barrel racing. She would even run the barrels with no bridle on and beat everybody!
My dad had Sandy bred to a local stud named Weinert’s Fox, owned by T.L. Meredith. When it was close to foaling time, my dad went over the hill one morning to see how she was doing. By her side was a brand new little Palomino filly that she had had in the night! Back then, palominos were looked down upon and many of them were just shot because it was said they would turn out to be worthless. My dad wouldn’t have that, so that filly became Foxsand Macaw and ended up living a long life with my family.
My folks and big brother later moved out to Flowing Springs (where I was conceived!) on the East Verde River and so we had the horses out there in the late 50’s and into the early 80’s and at one point we had nine horses altogether. It was a great life growing up with horses all around! A horse lover girl’s dream come true! Foxsand grew into a pretty nice horse and I would ride her and her sister all around the place. That palomino mare did dump me countless times as a kid but she was still a good one! Operator error mostly!
The East Verde River would regularly flood back then as it has done just recently with all the rains and snow we’ve had. Many times we were flooded in, but after it would go down some, and, if someone just had to get across the river to go to town, we would saddle the horses and ride them the mile and a half down to the river crossing. My uncle would be on the other side of the river waiting for us to cross and then he would take us to school or work. That palomino mare, Foxsand, was the horse my dad could count on to determine if the river was too deep and wild to cross or not. If she would not willingly go into the water, he would trust her senses and not push her. If she would go ahead and start into the water, the other horses would follow with my brother and me on board, and occasionally a neighbor who needed to get across the river. It was sometimes a bit of a deep and scary ride but we never had a wreck! When we would get on the other side, we would unsaddle the horses, turn them back toward the water, slap them on the rear ends and they would cross back over that muddy river with Foxsand in the lead, and they would run back home.
One time, a neighbor from down the road needed to get to work. He and my dad both worked for the Arizona State Highway Department but Daddy was in road maintenance and Bob worked in the engineering department. My dad and brother rode the horses and led one down to the river while my mom and I picked Bob up at his home and drove down to the river. It was raining so my mother and I sat in the car while Daddy was helping Bob with some instructions on getting on a horse. My dad got on Foxsand and when he looked around, Bob was just starting up and the next thing we knew Bob wound up facing backwards on the horse! I was very young but I do remember my mother sinking down as low as she could get into the seat behind the steering wheel and laughing hysterically!! After a readjustment, they were finally off across the river with my dad on the Palomino mare being followed by Bob and my brother. Bob was looking scared to death and was hanging on for dear life as they went across the flooding river!
My dad tried to have Foxsand bred each year for several years. Her older sister always conceived but Foxsand just never took…until one time we had a veterinarian out during the breeding. When the stud dismounted, the vet had a big bucket of cold water that he threw up on Foxsand’s rear end! Well, we all know that when we get hit with cold water or jump into a pool of cold water, we gasp and everything sucks up tight. That cold water trick worked and about 11 months later Foxsand was ready to foal. It was a summer afternoon when my mom and I saw that she was laying down in labor in the big corral. We were watching through the bedroom window. The foal finally came out and when Foxsand looked around at that wiggling pile, she snorted and jumped up and ran to the other end of the corral! This 13-year old new mom had no idea what that thing was! Mother said we needed to go out and help the colt. As we were breaking the sack and rubbing him down, I saw his nice markings and that he was also a palomino. I was begging for him to be mine, and so Santo Macaw was my first very own horse. I was 12 years old. Foxsand finally came around and was a good mother and ended up having three more foals over the next few years that I would train, and they all turned out to be very good horses. Santo became my best friend and we were a great team through the years. I’m grateful for that good ol’ palomino mare, and that my dad didn’t dispose of her when she was born as was done back in those days!
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